CENTER UPDATE | February 2022

This update features policy developments, literature items, media reports, and events supporting continued momentum for multiple V-BID Center initiatives throughout January.

On March 23, 2022, the University of Michigan V-BID Center will hold the virtual V-BID Summit from 12 noon – 4 pm ET. An extraordinary roster of national leaders from across the health care spectrum will guide discussions on a number of topics with an emphasis on advancing equity in healthcare. Register now for this no-cost event.

DHHS Approves Updates to Preventive Items and Services to be Covered without Cost-Sharing

The DHHS Health Resources Services Administration has announced updates to preventive care and screening guidelines which require health plans and health insurance policies to provide 100% coverage for additional services for women, adolescents, children, and infants. These services include comprehensive lactation consultation and double electric breast pumps for breast-feeding women, obesity counseling for women 40-60 years old, screenings for certain behavioral health issues for children and adolescents, and risk assessments for cardiac arrest and hepatitis B virus. Read more here.

Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule

CMS proposed rule CMS-4192-P aims to lower out-of-pocket Medicare Part D prescription drug costs and improve consumer protections, reduce disparities, and improve health equity in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D. Access the announcement and fact sheet here.

ASPE Data Point Examines Prescription Drug Affordability Among Medicare Beneficiaries

A recent data point report from the Office of Health Policy at ASPE has found that more than 5 million Medicare beneficiaries struggle to afford prescription medications. Black and Latino beneficiaries are most likely to experience affordability problems. Also, those with lower incomes and those under age 65 had above-average rates of not taking needed medications due to cost. Read the full report here.

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New Georgetown Report on Improving Primary Care Access for Underserved Populations

In order to assess primary care access for underserved communities, authors of a new report conducted a review of five dimensions: improving availability of primary care clinicians; accessibility of primary care services geographically; accommodation of primary care services in terms of appointment availability and hours; affordability; and acceptability in terms of comfort and communication between patient and clinician. Read the full report here.

New Graphic: Overcoming Social Barriers to Health

America’s Health Insurance Plans has released a new motion graphic to demonstrate how health insurance providers are helping Americans overcome social barriers to health, such as providing transportation to and from doctor appointments and bringing in groceries for members who can’t shop for themselves. Watch the video here.

Social Determinants of Health: Addressing Health Equity

Recently released survey data by the PAN Foundation assess social determinants in housing and utilities, transportation, food insecurity, health services, and financial security for adults and seniors. Findings suggest that addressing social determinants has the potential to improve patient health outcomes and reduce avoidable healthcare spending. Access the accompanying infographic here.

The Commonwealth Fund: State Trends in Employer Premiums and Deductibles

A new report from The Commonwealth Fund examines how much workers are spending on premiums, the size of their deductibles, and how these costs compare to the median income in each state. In 37 states, premium contributions and deductibles amounted to 10% or more of median income, up from 10 states a decade prior. Read more here.

California Health Care Foundation: 2022 California Health Policy Survey

In late 2021, CHCF surveyed Californians’ views on health care policy, their experiences with COVID-19, and the health care system overall. Categories of key findings include trouble affording health care costs, problems paying medical bills, prevalence of homelessness, experiences with telehealth, and attitudes about equity in health care. Read more here.

FAIR Study: Financial Burden of Advanced Imaging in Radiology

A new JACR study highlighted the significant impact that out-of-pocket imaging costs have on some patients. A survey of 671 patients undergoing CT or MRI exams at five different Midwest outpatient imaging centers revealed that 22% experienced financial anxiety due to OOP imaging costs, 35% resorted to financial coping strategies (e.g. reducing other spending or using credit), and 15% didn’t follow their care plan because of imaging costs (e.g. taking less medication or skipping imaging exams).

Employers' Rising Health Insurance Costs Leave Many Families Underinsured

An article from the Association of Health Care Journalists discusses recent trends in employer premiums and deductibles. Namely, health insurance premiums and deductibles accounted for 11.6% of the U.S. median household income in 2020, leading to underinsurance, skipping needed care, and debt. Read more here.

Top Employer Strategies for Implementing Episodes of Care Models

Instead of implementing high deductibles and small networks to force employees to have more stake in finding appropriate care, Connecticut started its value-based insurance design program in 2011 to reduce copays and drive consumer behavior toward preventive services. Almost ten years later in 2020, Connecticut initiated its Episodes of Care program. Read more here.

Upcoming Webinar: Better Value, Smarter Deductibles in HSA-HDHPs

On February 15, 2022, the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions will host a webinar, “Better Value, Smarter Deductibles in HSA High-Deductible Health Plans”, focusing on how employers are working to achieve better value from high-deductible health plans. Register here.

Please Help Support the V-BID Center

As a non-profit entity, the V-BID Center relies on fundraising to support our research, education, and policy efforts. Please help us continue our work by donating here. We truly appreciate your consideration.